Jones 26 leads Broncbusters to conference-opening victory
Garden City, KS-Through six games, there is one thing that is certain: Garden City's defense is much improved from a season ago.
The Broncbusters, which entered Saturday's conference opener second in the Jayhawk and 15th nationally in opponents field goal percentage, limited the Trojans to just 39 percent shooting, Braxton Jones scored 26 points, and Garden City ran away from Colby, 73-56 at Conestoga Arena.
"I thought we guarded our tails off," Head Coach, Rusty Elmore said. "I thought, with the exception of about a six or seven-minute stretch in the first half and about a two or three-minute stretch in the second half, we guarded really really well."
Garden City's defense was suffocating over the final 20 minutes. Colby missed 23 of their last 30 shots from the field and turned the ball over 15 times as the Broncbusters outscored them, 38-23 in the second half.
"That was a tough win because that's a really good Colby team," Elmore added.
Offensively, it took the Broncbusters a little bit to get going. Jones nailed a 3-pointer nearly four minutes into the game to get Garden City on the board. Later in the half, Jones again connected from deep, Jordan Frazier splashed home a fallaway 26-footer as the shot clock expired, and Brody Robinson made two free throws to give the Broncbusters a 26-16 advantage with 6:35 remaining.
Colby though answered with a 9-0 run over the next two minutes, and Marko Malekinusic's triple from the top of the key sliced the lead to one, 26-25. Garden City was up just two at the intermission.
"We talk about this as our goal every single day," Jones said after the game. "We are trying to go to Hutch. Every game matters, and we know there are going to be ups and downs, but we have to make sure that we are mostly staying on the upside."
Jones, who started one game at Hartford last season, tallied 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, marking the fifth straight contest that he's led the Broncbusters in scoring. He was 6-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-7 from deep over the final 20 minutes. In fact, it was his layup two minutes into the second half that broke a 40-40 deadlock and ignited a 16-3 run that was polished off by sophomore Cooper Autry's second-chance bucket that gave Garden City a 56-43 lead with 11:29 to go.
"This is all because of my teammates," Jones explained. "They kept finding me and putting me in great position on the floor to be successful."
Robinson hit a step-back 3-pointer; then found Jones in rhythm from downtown, giving Garden City a 13-point lead with less than five minutes to go. It never got under 10 the rest of the way.
Robinson finished with 21 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds for the Broncbusters, which beat Colby for a fifth consecutive time. Tulsa transfer, Charles Chukwu, who made his season debut Tuesday night at Frank Phillips, had seven points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.
Malekinusic led Colby with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Maxence Massadila scored 14 on 5-of-10 shooting.